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White House lauds Physiological Society for mentoring underrepresented minorities in biomedicine

early school years," Dr. Matyas added.

"Encouragement and role models must be teamed with excellence in science teaching in order to open the world of science to underrepresented students. Teachers in APS programs learn to integrate proven methods such as inquiry-based learning with Internet and other technologies to help students develop problem-solving and analytical skills for both science careers and citizenship in a technology-based world."

In supporting the APS nomination for the award, L. Gabriel Navar, chair of Tulane University School of Medicine's Department of Physiology, said: "As a member of the APS for over 30 years and a Mexican-American, it has been extremely gratifying to see the development of a diverse collection of programs designed to enhance the participation of members of underrepresented groups in science in general and the physiological sciences in particular."

Dr. Pamela H. Gunter-Smith, Porter Professor of Physiology and Associate Provost for Science and Mathematics at Spelman College, noted that "Most, if not all, of the minority physiologists who have successful careers in science can point to the APS as being pivotal in supporting their careers." A former Porter Predoctoral Fellow herself, Dr. Gunter-Smith said, "One of the achievements of which I am most proud is that of my students who have completed their PhDs, two are physiologists and both are former Porter Fellows." Dr. Gunter-Smith chairs the APS Porter Fellowship Program.

In a recent study, Drs. Frank and Matyas found that of the 73 Porter Fellowships awarded between 1967 and 2001, 64% were working in professional positions as physiologists, 20% were still completing their doctorate and 14% were in post-doctoral studies. Also, 42% were women, 67% were African-American and 29% were Hispanic. One Native American and two Pacific Islanders also participated.

Other recent examples of diversity mentoring programs come from the APS annual meetin
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6-May-2004


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